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Countywide : Mosquito Abatement Efforts Are Underway

February 02, 1995|DEBRA CANO

It's that time of year when those egg-laying, skin-piercing mosquitoes start to multiply in Orange County.

Gilbert L. Challet, manager of the Orange County Vector Control District, said the record-setting rains followed by this week's sunshine have created ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes, which need water in which to lay their eggs.

Every time it rains, "we get a new crop of eggs," he said. Moreover, warm weather enables the insects to thrive. And, as it gets warmer in coming months, there will be "more bugs, more eggs and more mosquitoes," Challet said.

Pesticide spraying began last week at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach to rid the area of Aedes larvae. The spraying, done by truck, is expected to conclude today and will cost more than $20,000, Challet said.

He said mosquitoes could pose a problem down the road if the county gets more wet weather and money is not available to pay for pesticide spraying.

The agency has $1.3 million in the county's frozen investment pool, along with an emergency mosquito abatement trust fund of about $584,000.

"We rely on (trust fund money) to use in emergency situations to kill mosquitoes," Challet said. "Depending on the rainfall, and if we don't get some funds, we may have a hard time buying insecticides and spraying."

For now, he said, his agency has the situation under control.

To reduce mosquito problems in back yards, Challet said, residents should empty anything that contains standing water.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Back- Yard Breeders Record amounts of rain have turned many Orange County back yards into breeding havens for mosquitoes. Spawning Grounds Mosquitoes breed in one out of 10 back yards. *

Wheelbarrows, buckets and open containers are potential breeding areas. *

A wheelbarrow of water can yield up to 15,000 mosquitoes in one week. *

Control at Home Empty water from containers, and cover or turn them upside down. *

Cover swimming pools or clean with a skimmer evey day-chlorine does not kill mosquitolarvae. *

Avoid outdoor work at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active. *

Mosquito Fish Use the two- inch fish in ornamental pools or fountains. They require little care. *

The fish eat mosquito larvae as they emerge from their eggs. *

Available free from the Orange County Vector Control District. *

Diseases Encephaliti, inflammation of the lining of the brain, is the most common danger from mosquito bites in the western United States. *

No cases have been reported in Orange County since 1984, when six cases were reported. *

Mosquitoes ae not carriers of the virus tha causes AIDS. Source: Orange County Vector Control District

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